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Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 338–347 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Young Adult Smokers’ Beliefs About Nicotine Addiction and Smoking-Related Affect and Cognitions

  • Erika A. WatersEmail author
  • Eva Janssen
  • Annette R. Kaufman
  • Laurel M. Peterson
  • Nicole L. Muscanell
  • Rosanna E. Guadagno
  • Michelle L. Stock
Article

Abstract

Risk beliefs and self-efficacy play important roles in explaining smoking-related outcomes and are important to target in tobacco control interventions. However, information is lacking about the underlying beliefs that drive these constructs. The present study investigated the interrelationships among young adult smokers’ beliefs about the nature of nicotine addiction and smoking-related affect and cognitions (i.e., feelings of risk, worry about experiencing the harms of smoking, self-efficacy of quitting, and intentions to quit). Smokers (n = 333) were recruited from two large universities. Results showed that quit intentions were associated with feelings of risk, but not with worry or self-efficacy. Furthermore, higher feelings of risk were associated with lower beliefs that addiction is an inevitable consequence of smoking and with lower beliefs that the harms of smoking are delayed. This suggests that it is important for health messages to counter the possible negative effects of messages that strongly emphasize the addictiveness of nicotine, possibly by emphasizing the importance of quitting earlier rather than later. The findings also add to the evidence base that feelings of risk are powerful predictors of behavioral intentions. Furthermore, our results suggest that in some circumstances, feelings of risk predict quit intentions beyond that predicted by worry and self-efficacy. Gaining additional understanding of the tobacco-related beliefs that can increase feelings of risk and incorporating those beliefs into educational campaigns may improve the quality of such campaigns and reduce tobacco use.

Keywords

Gene-environment interaction Tobacco use Risk perception Health beliefs 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The results presented in this paper were presented as a poster at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in 2013. This research was supported by a Mentored Research Scholar Grant awarded to EW by the American Cancer Society (ACS), MRSG-11-214-01-CBBP, and the Barnes Jewish Hospital Foundation (BJHF). The funding agreement ensured the authors’ independence in designing the study, interpreting the data, writing, and publishing the report. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the ACS or BJHF.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erika A. Waters
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eva Janssen
    • 2
  • Annette R. Kaufman
    • 3
  • Laurel M. Peterson
    • 4
  • Nicole L. Muscanell
    • 5
  • Rosanna E. Guadagno
    • 6
  • Michelle L. Stock
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Public Health SciencesWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Maastricht University School for Public Health and Primary Care (Caphri), Department of Health PromotionFaculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Division of Cancer Control and Population SciencesNational Cancer InstituteRockvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA
  5. 5.Knowledge Media Research CenterTübingenGermany
  6. 6.Emerging Media and Communication; Department of PsychologyUniversity of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA
  7. 7.Department of PsychologyGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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